Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why I don't think I could ever return to church.

Firstly, for my friend Kmarie.. wanted to show a couple pictures of our beautiful view just right outside our window :)

I adore these mountains.. I was telling my daughter how moody they are ;)
Some days they are so clear and fresh, other days they are completely covered up, and then other days they are hazy... not quite hidden but not out in the open either. They are just amazing!
Love driving every morning with them right in front me :)

We had some rain yesterday, and the mountains were so so clear!
Had to take a shot!
Sorry about the power lines :)




Ok, so onward on to the topic of this blog post..

I don't know if you remember this post.
It was a post about a really big life choice that I made after another attempt at attending a church service with my husband this past summer.

You see, my hub has no difficulty with going to church. He loves it, he isn't set back by it, and it encourages him.
Me, on the other hand, it does.

Over the past 4 years, as a act of love and support, I have tried over and over again to attend church with my hub.
And everytime, I walk away totally set back, filled with terror and doubt, and just plain a mess!
It triggers all that doubt stuff inside me, and I begin to question everything I have learned while being outside of religion.

So, I was driving the other day, thinking about the past years on this journey, and it came to me...

I don't think I will ever be able to go back.

Like. Ever.

Not a surprise to a lot of people I am sure, but to me that was a bit of a big moment for me.

I feel like Neo and the scene in the movie The Matrix with Morpheus...

"Morpheus to Neo: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. 
You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.
 You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes."

I took the red pill! 
I am too awake!
And when I think about going back to organized religion, I think, there is no freaking way I can.
I know too much.
It's all man made.
It was never meant to be that way.
We were supposed to live life in relationship with our Creator and that's it.
Not this crazy cage that we have been made to believe is the only way to have relationship with God.

It's funny looking back and remembering all the prayers I prayed and my church prayed for revival..
I believe this is it.
But nobody can see it because they think it's supposed to take place inside the cage.
I know that is such religious terminology, so call it what you will... revival, a mass awakening, enlightment..
It's all the same.. God is awakening people that are inside the cage AND out to truth and freedom.
And I am so grateful for that...so very grateful.

~~~~~

I live in a city that has sooooo many churches... literally every street corner.
Colorado Springs is the hub of almost every Evangelical Christian ministry there is.
I drive by and see all the many different types of services and programs they offer to draw people in...
these super modern and cool looking pastors with the little tattoos and fohawks.
They have even started to say words like damn and hell in their sermons..kind of with a shock jock genre in mind.. for shock value and coolness, you know?

And all I see anymore is a cage... a cage that they have decorated to try and look like the wild.
All wall papered on the inside with grass, and fields... and everyone get's their own treadmills to run on.
lol!

A movie that reminds me of this is the cute Disney animation, Madagascar..
When Marty the zebra is running on his treadmill and imagining the wild as he looks at his painting of the wild.
It's the same thing.
I imagine them saying at the cage door... come inside.. look see.. it looks just like freedom!
It looks like the wild.. come inside.

Knowing that there is just no way I could go inside.
The freedom that is here outside the cage... how could I go back?
How could I sit there and take in all that false teaching and poison?
I would have to suppress myself again.... and conform...and die a slow death.

Religion is man made. All of it.
Is God a part, yeah I think it probably started with God...and a experience with God that a man had.

But then that man took his experience that was meant just for him, and he tries to re-create it.
The surroundings, the sounds, the actions of what he was doing at that very moment of his God experience, his actual position that he was in when it happened, etc..
and then he begins to tell people about this experience... and that they too can experience God as he did if they follow this formula.
THAT is the man made part. THAT is the cage. THAT is religion.
When all along that experience was between that one man and God. period. done. end of story.

Another thing about religion that I am learning is it has very little to do with the heart/spirit and everything to do with the ego/head.
And I am reminded so often, God's ways are not ego's ways.
God's ways are spirit.... ALL spirit.
And in spirit nothing is earned. It isn't works driven, it just is.
And religion is all about works and what you can DO to reach God and to earn His favor and gaze.
And that, my friends, is ego.
And ego is not God.

How could I go back to that?
I can't. and. I won't.
Freedom comes from living from your heart/spirit, and I want that so deeply and ferousiously.
I want to cultivate spirit, not ego.
I want to surround myself with those things that contribute to my heart/spirit.
And that includes where I spend my time, what I think on, who I choose to be in relationship with, etc..

Just a big "ah ha" moment I wanted to share with you.

xo

Amy

22 comments:

  1. Oh I LOVE how you put this. LOVE. That is EXACTLY it. I can't go back either! NEVER EVER EVER. It is so freeing!!! SO freeing! Of course I know for some- they need there cages...and some are worse cages than others- and that is okay to be at that stage. It really is if it fits a need. But no longer a need for me AT ALL. I might link to this if that is ok? You explained it soooo well. I know Colorado Springs is about twice as bad as our town. Our town is the canadian version of Colorado Springs. I feel for ya.

    but I LOVE the view. Love it. Wow. you can have your own commune with nature:)It is so good to hear your voice again!
    Love

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    1. Always feel free to share the love, K! lol!

      I remember you telling me how it was hard to be raised in such a conservative Christian community and have a dad that was a forward thinker. It's so interesting meeting people here.. "Where do you go to church?" Is always like the third question into meeting someone. No joke! And then I get the blank, tilt look I say, "Oh, we don't go to church."

      ha! Oh well! Loves to you!

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  2. I don't know how to articulate how deeply I resonate with this. It took me *years* to let go. Now, no matter how much or hard I try, I can't go back without screaming inside. I just have had to stop. And I don't see (at least not now) how I can *ever* go back.

    I've had some tell me that if you're not free to leave, you're not truly free. And if you're not free to go back, you're not truly free. And that makes me feel like "well, you know what then? I guess I'm not free b/c I just can't do it."

    I loved this Amy. **Thank** you for posting...love you my friend.

    - Patti

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    1. Hi Patti friend! I sooooo know we both are hashing out and shedding some of the same stuff.
      I have heard that quote too.. can't remember where... but I so disagree with it. I don't think we should ever gauge freedom. Because what's freedom for one is NOT freedom for another. It's so individual. And when there has been such a deep mark left by something as prevalent as religion, sometimes freedom means staying away not going back.
      It's funny because I see "freedom" people who have a brand new box they are walking around with, telling people freedom looks like this.. and freedom looks like that.

      Love you.. thankyou so much for coming by this space.. xo

      Amy

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  3. My favourite part "And in spirit nothing is earned. It isn't works driven, it just is.
    And religion is all about works and what you can DO to reach God and to earn His favor and gaze.
    And that, my friends, is ego.
    And ego is not God."

    My dad is a minister. A minister who can't stand religion. He is too freethinking for that. Thankfully he is a retired minister ;) He no longer needs to be in that cage.

    Enjoy your freedom xoxoxo

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    1. So totally love that you stopped by! And wonderful to meet a fellow traveler!

      My dad was a minister as well, but unfortunately even tho he retired, he is still very much still in the same religious mindset.

      Love that you dad doesn't feel that pull to the cage anymore!

      Thankyou so much for sharing your heart thoughts on the blog... please come back and share more!

      Hugs.. Amy

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  4. I so hear ya sister!!!
    loud and clear
    let your voice be heard
    from those mountain tops
    YOU ARE FREE!!!!!!

    love and light

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  5. on a more personal note....
    I do go now and again, with a girlfriend and her family to her church
    I really like their pastors message, he is really trying to break out and I feel it
    though I can't go every week...it would taint what I see in him
    I have also sent him feed back about some of his messages...I ask for nothing in return, I just feel he might be open to opinions of those who have walk this road of being lead out of church
    anyways
    it is good to be there sometimes, I never thought that would happen
    but like I said, it is at an arms length and I follow the Spirits guidance with this one...
    what is interesting is my girlfriends husband then always invites my husband "would be nice to see you in church" you know the drill...anyways we both cringe but do not hold it against him
    church goers are programmed to say such things to their friend, sad but true...
    for my hub and I I am free to go or not go and he is free to go or not go
    I go when the sprit moves me and OF COURSE the message has ALWAYS been just what I needed
    and I also don't want to resent or have any negative feelings about that institution, because then I am just festering more negativity...I want to have compassion and grace towards others...all others
    church might not be for me, but for others it is what they know
    I can't be grudge that....but of course this all takes time, to find our footing again after being called away...it takes time to find our path, but it is there and I am glad to have others with me like you Amy, on that path
    love you

    love and light

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    1. Love that your freedom journey incooperates honoring your friend and attending her community with her. That is so beautiful!

      Freedom is so individual...it truly is so customized to the person. So love that about this walk!

      Love you friend... grateful for you being a part of my "church" ;)

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  6. I lived in COS for two years (I'm in Denver now) and it's like Christianese 101. Kinda drove me crazy, to be honest.

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    1. Trinityofthought.. lol!

      Thankyou for the chuckle, and for stopping by!

      xo

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  7. I just love your writings Amy. About a couple of months after we left our old controlling church, I remember sharing with my husband that I could never go back to them. You see the pressure had begun to lift and joy was settling in my heart. To return would be the death of me.
    Thank you,
    Love Susan

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    1. Loves to you, Susan.. adore your heart and am so grateful to have met you!

      xo

      Amy

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  8. I think that we are in much the same place. I'm reading kindred spirit all over your posts and it is making me cry because so few people can even begin to understand this! We just left our faith community of eight years and are making our way in new community and new ways and just feeling out how on earth we are supposed to function without all the structure that bound us so tightly before. Thank you for writing - it is so soul soothing. :)

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    1. Hi Rae! I just want to give you a big squeeze and have a coffee with you!
      I sooooo hear what you are saying about "the structure that bound us so tightly"...oooh nellie, do I ever!
      It is a type of dependency that was never meant to be made..on man, on a system that wants to think for you, on a whole lot.
      You are so brave to have made the choice to leave... looking forward to knowing you more!
      Big hug.. Amy

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  9. Thanks Amy. So appreciate what you have shared. So much resonates with my own journey. Bless you loads for sharing.

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    1. Paul so love that this resonated with you! I know we are all walking this out with Papa in the beauty from the mess that only He can bring. As He brings us to the freedom He has in His heart for us.
      I appreciate you stopping by! Just saw that you have a blog too! gonna bookmark it!

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  10. How sad that every expression of church near you is religion-based and that there is no coming together of like-minded people who hunger for the presence of Father God. The word 'church' needs to be reclaimed and expressed as God intends. I know that it consists of people, and none of us are perfect yet, but living outside of a corporate expression of God-centred relationship can be equally as dangerous and unfruitful for the Kingdom as the religious approach. I hope you find a group of people you can be free with and together experience more of God, because surely that is the essence of real church? Peter Wigglesworth, Newcastle upon Tyne (sorry, don't have a Google Account etc)

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    1. Hi Peter!
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.. I love that you see the definition of "church" that way. I am finding as I journey this out with God, that He is bringing people into my life in a very organic way... be it through my children's school, meeting up with friends I have met on Facebook, or be it just chatting with somebody in the grocery store. I LOVE it! I find that I am so content with NOT going to a building to find people to connect and spark with. A perspective that has changed for me is the belief that I have to be around other believers all the time or my flame will die out. I am finding that isn't the case for me anymore. I have met amazing people through this blog, and like I shared above, in my everyday community...and not everybody is a believer. They are just beautiful people... and I love that it is happening when it needs to, and it's a very natural and unforced thing.

      Thankyou again so much for stopping by! Your thoughts are so appreciated!

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  11. i have come here to read your journey via a link on a friend's fb page. i respect your honesty and your individual journey. what is for you a prison is for many of us a home and a safety structure. you may have a mild form of christian claustrophobia ? or maybe you've become allergic to hype ! the only thing i would ask you is that in your need to break free that you dont rubbish those who still find "four walls church" helpful despite our failings. i'm very sorry if some of those who find that church as they are experiencing it is what they feel is right, are harsh or judgemental in their approach to you. very sorry. please dont look down on those of us who find corporate activity helpful and up-building. many of us disabled would love to be part of doing church but cant; fb is a very small second best to present human beings however fallible.

    God bless you; xx

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    1. HI Liz.. firstly would love to thankyou for your comment! I so appreciate you stopping by!

      I want you to know that I completely understand your perspective. And am in no way angry at the institutional church. I don't snub or look down on anybody that finds encouragement there.
      This blog is my safe place to share and hash out my thoughts and freedom journey. I am sharing where I am and the spaces that have brought me the most bondage and detriment, as well as how God is leading me into freedom. I have friends and family that still love to attend a Sunday service, and are very involved in different forms of ministry.

      I come from a very grace based denomination, to tell you the truth. I harbor no ill feelings towards anybody. But the message that religion offered me since a baby on up to my early thirties and how my heart took that message was devastating to me as a person. It was a message of conformity and duty, and of performance love with God.
      I don't go to church not because there isn't "good" church around, but because I choose not to. When I have tried to go, it devastates me and the work that God has been doing in my heart.

      Thankyou again so much for stopping by and sharing your heart here. I hope you found encouragement in some way here.

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  12. Oh Boy.... Amy the free... my Amy Joy.

    So many awesome comments, from lots of perspectives. All that I can add is, I know the feeling. As I round the corner of the church portion of my life, I don't think I could ever go back either. We know truth by the fruit it brings in our life. At this point, not going to church has brought so much life, love, beauty. It would feel like death to go back to it. I am grateful for the times of healing, fellowship and security it has brought me but for me it would be like trying to fit into a size 2 dress when naturally I fall more like a 12. Maybe I could do it, but it would be exhausting, painful, depressing and in the end not healthy for who I am. I can not be something I no longer am. I have to be true to myself and to the creator who made me this way. Do I struggle, yes? Of course, we are human, we all do... but no one person's path is the same. We are unique. I am unique.

    Bid

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